by Dave Stevens
Having read his books, The Final Quest and The Call, I have come to the conclusion that the teachings of Rick Joyner, and those of Morningstar Ministries, are dangerous and destructive. This paper is an attempt to expose these teachings and compare them to the light of scripture, in hopes that people may avoid suffering the shipwreck of their faith (1 Timothy 1:19). I believe that Joyner’s teachings are destructive because Rick Joyner is a false prophet who attacks the sufficiency of scripture, teaches a higher life pietism, and propagates “Later Rain / Manifest Sons of God” theology. May God grant you grace as you read the following pages and passages from the Bible, to remain steadfast in the knowledge of His gospel and of His Word.
A False Prophet:
When I first started reading Joyner’s books, I was taken back by the number of times he described his conversations with the dead. According to www.wikipedia.org a spirit medium is “an individual who claims the ability to receive messages from spirits, ghosts, or other discorporate entities, or claims that he or she can channel such entities — that is, write or speak in the voice of these entities rather than in the medium’s own voice.” By this definition, Rick Joyner is a spirit medium because he claims the ability to receive messages from the dead. In The Final Quest I counted 11 occurrences where Rick Joyner describes conversations with the dead and/or dictates the words of the dead to his readers (see pages 65, 86, 87, 92, 95, 99, 107, 111, 114, 131, and 150). In The Call I counted 7 occurrences (see pages 42, 45, 71, 72, 211, 212, and 213). I shall quote just one such conversation so you can get the flavor of his visions.
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I heard a new voice: “What you are experiencing here has been given you on earth. Every relationship, every encounter with another person, could teach you what you are learning here if you will keep the cloak of humility on, and learn to always keep your attention fixed on His glory… I was amazed to recognize this man as a contemporary of mine, and I did not know that he had died. I had never met him on earth, but he had a great ministry which I respected very much.
The Bible is explicitly clear on what God thinks of speaking to the dead. Leviticus 19:31 says, “Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 20:6 also says, “And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people.” Deuteronomy 18:10-12 says,
“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you.”
1 Chronicles 10:13 describes the unfaithfulness of King Saul by saying, “So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the LORD, because he did not keep the word of the LORD, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance.”
The scriptures tell us that Rick Joyner is an abomination to the Lord. Should we then regard his prophecies as true? Deuteronomy 13:1-5 says the following.
If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.
Rick Joyner is trying to “entice” his followers from the way that God has commanded us to walk. He leads people into sin with his necromancy, drawing them away from the LORD. Isaiah 8:19-20 also forbids mediums.
And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
According to the scriptures, Rick Joyner does not have any light in him, for he does “not speak according to this word”, but instead causes people to “seek those who are mediums”. Therefore, we should regard him as a false prophet and not listen to him.
It should be clear that the scriptures forbid practicing necromancy. However, Rick Joyner thinks it is fine to speak to the dead. In fact, in his introduction to The Callhe devotes two pages to defending his necromancy. In this introduction he excuses his actions on the following grounds.
- Jesus talked to Moses and Elijah (see Matthew 17:1-9)
- The angel in Rev. 22:9 claimed that he was a “fellow servant of his brethren”.
- There is a difference between prophetic experiences and actually doing something.
First of all, it would be perfectly legitimate for Moses and Elijah to appear before the Son of God because the Son is God. If it were wrong for the Son of God, who is united with the Godhead through His divine nature, to talk to the dead it would be wrong for God the Father to talk to the dead. We know that this is not the case, since our souls appear before God’s throne at death to render an account of our lives before Him. Therefore, when God forbid mankind to talk to the dead, He must have been excluding himself from this obligation. God is not obligated to obey anyone, since that obligation would imply an authority higher than God.
Secondly, Mr. Joyner is ripping Revelations 22:9 out of context because the verse right before this (verse 8) says that the apostle John is talking to an angel, not a man, “…I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.” John specifies what type of creature he was talking to, namely an “angel”, not a dead human.
And lastly, Joyner claim that there is a difference between prophetic experiences and actually doing something is a bold face lie.
Likewise, even though some of these experiences and people seemed very real to me, I seriously question whether I was actually talking to people in heaven. I believe that these were prophetic experiences mean to convey a message… However, I am open to the thought that I saw real places and met real people. I see no conflict with Scripture that would prohibit this possibility, although I understand how some would object.
By his own admission, Joyner does not know if his experiences were real or imaginary. But then he contradicts himself by later claiming on page 40 that “this is all more real to me than anything I have experienced on earth, but when I am on earth, all that is here seems like an unreal dream. I know that this is the true reality and that earth is temporary.” So, according to page 40, his final argument that this people are not real is a lie. Also, on page 59 he states on behalf of God, “Reality is wherever I am. My presence gives any place true reality and made everything you looked at seem so alive because I am Life.” Even if his visions are not real (which I believe they are quite imaginary), does that make his necromancy acceptable before God? Would it be pleasing to God to indulge in the sin of lust during a prophetic vision, simply because the vision was not real? Of course it wouldn’t. That is because sin occurs in the mind. Sin is sin, whether we act it out in reality, keep it hidden in our thoughts, or expose it to thousands on paper.
Rick Joyner’s arguments in favor of speaking to the dead do not pass the test of scripture. When he lies to cover his sins, he only shows that he is deliberately trying to deceive others with cunning arguments.
Attacks the Sufficiency of Scripture:
The scriptures are sufficient in that they provide us with everything we need to accomplish God’s will. This truth can be found in 2nd Timothy 3:16-17.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The Bible thoroughly equips us for every good work. We do not need any new revelation in order to follow God’s perfect will for our lives, which is to love him and to love others.
In fact, the scriptures are complete, having been closed by the last living apostle, John, in Revelations 22:18-19. Also, according to 1 Corinthians 13:8-10, the revelatory gifts of tongues, prophecy, and knowledge have ceased now that the canon of scripture has been closed (“perfect” has come)
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophecy in part. But when the perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
Some would argue that the word “perfect” here refers to Christ’s 2nd coming when we see him “face to face” (see vs. 12). However, this interpretation would cause Paul to commit the error of mixing metaphors. He is not contrasting something figurative, a brass mirror, with something real, seeing Him face to face at His 2nd coming. That would not make sense and would not fit with the context of his contrast between partial revelation (“For we know in part”) and complete revelation (“when that which is perfect has come”).
Not only does Rick Joyner relentlessly attack the sufficiency of scripture, he also attacks verbal plenary inspiration of scripture when he describes one of the different types of prophetic revelation.
I believe that this was probably experienced by the apostles as they wrote the New Testament epistles. This will give us great confidence, but it is still a level where we can be influenced by our prejudices, doctrines, etc. This is why I believe, in certain matters, Paul would say that he was giving his opinion, but that he thought he had [the agreement of] the Spirit of the Lord.
Verbal (having to do with words) Plenary (or complete) inspiration is the belief that the very words of scripture in their original autograph (Greek or Hebrew, etc), not just the author’s thoughts, are God breathed and without error. According to Joyner, some of Paul’s words may not have been in agreement with the Spirit of God but must have been influenced by his prejudices and false doctrine.
A casual reader of Joyner’s books may get the impression that he regards scripture as more authoritative then prophecy.
I must state emphatically that I do not believe that any kind of prophetic revelation is for the purpose of establishing doctrine, We have the Scriptures for that. There are two basic uses for the prophetic. The first is for revealing the present future strategic will of the Lord in certain matters…We also, see such revelations being given for illuminating doctrine that is taught in the Scripture, but is not clearly seen.
“Prophecy is not for establishing doctrine.” – This simply is not true. Any time we claim that God has said something we are making a doctrinal statement. For example, Joyner’s quote of God (speaking as Wisdom), “I love all men, and desire for all to be saved”, is an attempt to establish doctrine. His claim otherwise is simply propaganda. By saying that “prophecy is not for establishing doctrine” he is asking the reader for a license to be heretical.
“Prophecy is for revealing the present or future strategic will” – This assumes God has a “strategic will”. Can God plan something and it not be fulfilled? Ephesians 1:11 shows that nothing happens outside of God’s will, “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will”.
The whole concept of “strategic will” assumes that you buy into the dispensational view that God has an “ideal” best path for your life but you may not always follow it. But the Bible only supports two types of God’s will, his revealed will (what he obligates all men to do through the scriptures), and his secret will (what he has ordained to happen). Deuteronomy 29:29 is very clear on this, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
“Prophecy is for illuminating doctrine not clearly seen.” – What Joyner means by “illuminating” is not clear. In The Call on page 18 he gives Peter’s trance as an example. Basically, Joyner is claiming that visions only reiterate doctrine that has already been established in scripture. But is reiteration not the same as establishing doctrine? Whether a truth is said once or said in many different ways, it is all to establish the truth of a doctrine or belief.
Joyner further expresses that he regards scripture as more authoritative.
At times I have questioned my own memory for certain details in this vision, and I think that you should therefore have the liberty to do the same. I think that this is right with any such messages. Only the Scriptures deserve to be considered infallible.
But here, Joyner suffers from the same weakness that liberals have when they say that the Bible contains errors. How do we know what part is in error? If Joyner’s prophecy contains errors, can we trust any of it at all? Because the part that we trust that is from God may be the part that isn’t from God and the part that we reject as error could be from God. We are left with only one option, to throw out all of Joyner’s prophecies.
While Mr. Joyner seems to elevate scripture above his prophecies he still claims to speak for God. But what does it matter if God speaks through Moses or God speaks through Rick Joyner if it is the same God speaking. Is not God’s word still authoritative no matter what vessel he uses to communicate it? If we really think Rick Joyner speaks on behalf of God, shouldn’t we be adding the book of Joyner to the back of all of our Bibles?
At the end of The Final Quest, Joyner has a conversation with Paul, in which Paul says the following.
“True humility is agreement with the truth. Do not fear. My letters were true, and they were written by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. However, I was given so much, and I did not use all that I was given. I, too, fell short. Everyone here has fallen short, except One. But you must especially see this about me, because many are still distorting my teachings because they have a distorted view of me.”… “I so appreciate the grace of the Lord to use my letters as He has. But I am concerned with the way many of you are using them wrongly. They are the truth of the Holy Spirit, and they are Scripture. The Lord did give me great stones to set into the structure of His eternal church, but they are not foundation stones. The foundation stones were laid by Jesus, alone. My life and ministry are not the example of what you are called to be. Jesus alone is that. If what I have written is used as a foundation, it will not be able to hold the weight of that which needs to be built upon it. What I have written must be built upon the only Foundation that can withstand what you are about to endure; it must be used as the foundation. You must see my teachings through the Lord’s teachings, not try to understand Him from my perspective. His words are the foundation. I have built upon them by elaborating on His words. The greatest wisdom, and the most powerful truths, are His words, not mine.”
In these statements, Joyner carefully weaves the following argument. Paul was a sinner like all of us. He fell short of his calling. Therefore, Paul’s revelation is not sufficient for us today. We need more. This form of argument suffers from an irrelevant conclusion. Paul’s sin does not imply that his writings are not sufficient. In fact, Paul’s sin has nothing to do with the sufficiency of scripture. The scriptures are sufficient because they were authored by God’s superintending sovereign power and are revealed to sinners through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.
When Joyner uses the words “elaborating on his words” he is attempting to drive a wedge between the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of Paul, as if they were different. This is a blatant attack on divine revelation. Paul says in Galations 1:11
But what I made known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
In contrast to what Joyner is claiming, Paul’s words are the foundation on which the church stands because Paul words are the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul’s words are Jesus’ words because Jesus gave Paul the words to write. Jesus said this in John 16:12-15
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
Jesus is very clear that the Holy Spirit is not giving the apostles something new (“for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears”) but only what Jesus had already had in mind (“for He will take what is Mine and declare it to you”). Paul was not “elaborating on” Jesus’ words as Joyner claims. Paul’s words have the same authority as Jesus’ words because they are Jesus’ words.
Rick Joyner claims that, “Never are we told that prophecy is infallible, which is why we must judge prophecy.” On the contrary, Peter tells us in 2 Peter 1:21 “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” All true prophecy is without error because a true prophet speaks the words given to him by the Holy Spirit.
Joyner would have us try to determine the “accuracy” of each prophecy, even though he gives us no criteria to do this other than gut feelings. But what good does this do? Again, we face the same problem that the liberals have with scripture. Even if a prophet is 90% accurate. We never know what part of a prophecy is false and what part is true, what part to trust and what part to disregard. We are left with no other option then to throw all of it away.
Joyner continues on by saying, “Because prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit, we must treat everything that comes from Him as holy, but because it comes through humans, it must not be considered infallible”. Using the same reasoning we could also say that the scriptures contain errors because they came through humans.
Joyner even goes as far as to say that a relationship with God that relies only on the written word is a dying relationship.
The quality of any relationship will be determined by the quality of the communication, and any relationship that does not have continuing communication is a dying relationship. Prophecy does help to keep our day-to-day relationship with the Lord fresh, which is why I believe that the Scripture encourages us to “especially” seek this gift.
According to Joyner, only prophecy can keep our relationship with God from dying. However, in Deuteronomy 32:46-47, when Moses was telling the children of Israel to pay attention to the reading of the law every seven years, he said “Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe—all the words of this law. For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life”. In 1 Timothy 4:6, Paul exhorts Timothy, “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.” Contrary to starving on the dead letter of the Bible, we feast upon God’s written word because Moses calls it our “life” and Paul names it our nourishment.
Being a big proponent of “power evangelism”, it is predictable that Joyner would “prophecy” that God spoke the following to him regarding “letters written on paper or stone”.
I thought about how good it would be to have His words carved in stone like Moses and to carry the words of the Lord to His people in such as way that they could be preserved untainted by me. Again knowing my thoughts, Wisdom (God) answered them… “Even so, the true power of My words can only be seen when they are written in the hearts of My people. Living epistles are more powerful than letters written on paper or stone. Because you are not writing Scripture, the words you write will have you in them. Even so, your books will be as I desire them to be because I prepared you for this task.
Here Joyner claims that “living epistles are more powerful than letters written on paper or stone”. In contrast, Paul says in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” And again in 1 Corinthians 1:18 Paul says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Contrary to being week, the gospel message itself is described as “the power of God”.
Joyner’s books, The Final Quest and The Call contain even more examples of his attacks on the sufficiency of scripture. However, for the sake of time, I will stop here.
Some believe that holding to the sufficiency of scripture is equivalent to worshiping the Bible instead of God. They would say that Jesus is a person not a book. This is a little like saying to God, “I don’t want to learn about you, I just want to experience you”. How many women would trust a man who said, “I don’t want you to talk to me, I just want to experience you.” Of course any moral woman would immediately question the man’s motives. But this is exactly the way people approach God when they subvert His divine revelation. They just want an experience. Divine revelation is our only way of knowing God. It is our life, it is the power of God, it is the sword of the Holy Spirit, and it is sufficient to equip us for every good work. While not being the grounds of our justification (only the righteousness of Christ and His atoning work on the cross is the grounds of justification) the Word of God is the primary means by which we hear the call of the gospel (see Romans 10:14), which works in our hearts powerfully because of the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit (see Titus 3:5)
Higher Life Pietism:
In the beginning of The Final Quest, Joyner describes a vision of “The Great Christian Civil War”. During this battle those who were on God’s side were directed by “Wisdom”(God) to fight from a certain mountain.
On the mountain there were ledges at different levels for as high as we could see. At each higher level the ledges became narrower, and more difficult to stand on. Each level was named for a biblical truth. The lower levels were named after foundational truth such as “Salvation,” “Sanctification,” “Prayer,” “Faith,” etc., and the higher levels were named after deeper biblical truths. The higher we climbed, the larger both our shields and our swords grew, and fewer of the enemy arrows could reach our positions.
Joyner goes on to describe several levels on the mountain, which include salvation, sanctification, thanksgiving & praise, prayer, faith, “The Unity of the Brethern”, “Galations Two Twenty”, Patience, and “The Father’s Unconditional Love”. At the top of the mountain Joyner achieves true spiritual nirvana by eating of the “Tree of Life” and seeing Jesus himself. He describes his mountain top experience with words like the following.
I did not realize how hungry I was. When I tasted the fruit, it was better than anything I had ever tasted, but it was, also somehow familiar. It brought memories of sunshine, rain, beautiful fields, the sun setting over the ocean, but even more than that, of the people I loved.
With this glory I entered a realm of emotion that I had never experienced before. Somehow I understood that this glory had been there all along, but when we focused on Him the way that we did in worship, we began to see more of His glory. The more intensely we worshiped, the more glory we beheld. If this was heaven, it was much, much better than I had ever dreamed.
One of the “hidden prophets”, represented as an eagle, tells him about the little known hidden passages, which are at each level, that can take you into the inside of the mountain. Here you can find a “short cut to the top”, to the 2nd or 3rd heaven. However, you may need to pray for 25 years, like Rick Joyner, before you are spiritual enough to enter the 3rd heaven, as the apostle Paul did.
In his fascination with higher life spirituality, Joyner also describes various levels of prophetic revelation in his introduction to The Final Quest. First there is the “Impressions” level. “They are gentle and must be seen with ‘the eyes of our heart.’” Then there is the “Conscious Sense” level. This often comes when I am writing, or speaking, and it gives me much greater confidence in the importance or accuracy of what I am saying. I believe that this was probably experienced by the apostles as they wrote the New Testament.” Continuing on, there is the “Open Visions” level. “Open visions are external, and are viewed with the clarity of a movie screen.” And finally, there is the “Trance” level where “you feel like you are in the movie,” not just seeing it. Joyner claims to be an expert on these various levels of prophetic revelation because, according to him, he has experienced them all.
1st John 2:3-6 tells us that we do not have to climb the spiritual ladder to higher levels of experience. If a person wants to grow spiritually he can follow after the teachings and commandments of Jesus Christ not some mystical experience.
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
Ephesians 1:3 proclaims that all believers enjoy the higher life.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ
2nd Peter 1:2-4 also shares that we enjoy all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Romans 10:6 tells us that Christ is our righteousness and we need not seek greater spirituality through experiences. To seek these higher life experiences is to bring Christ down, as if we need more than what he provides for us in His righteousness.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above)
Joyner seems at many times to be apposed to knowing and worshiping God primarily through the intellect. He emphasizes believing with the heart over believing with the mind, as if there is a difference. He draws false distinctions between knowing the person of Christ and knowing the message about Jesus Christ, as if we could know him by any other way.
“I have been your companion for a very long time, and I know your teachings,” Wisdom (that is God) replied. “Now you are about to learn what some of your own teachings mean. As you have said many times, ‘It is not by believing in your mind, but in your heart that results in righteousness.’”
“However, you can see Me (God) just as clearly there as you do here, if you will look with the eyes of your heart…If you really desire to be even closer to Me than Paul was, you can. Some will want this, and they will want it badly enough to lay aside anything that hinders their intimacy with Me to give themselves fully to it, and they will have what they seek.”
“Yes. Everything that I am doing, I am doing in your heart. That is where the living waters flow. This is where I am.”
“When you start to live by what you see with the eyes of your heart, you will walk with Me, and you will see My glory. The eyes of your heart are your window into this realm of the Spirit. Through the eyes of your heart, you may come to My Throne of Grace, at any time. If you will come to Me, I will be more real to you. I will also trust you with more power.”
Is the heart different than the mind or spirit? The bible uses the words mind and heart interchangeably. For example, Psalms 73:21 says, “Thus my heart was grieved, And I was vexed in my mind.” Hebrews 8:10 says, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Matthew 22:37 says, “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’” Our heart is an organ that pumps blood. But it is also centrally located in our body. Obviously, our physical heart does not think or believe. However the scriptures use the word “heart” to refer to the center of our soul; the part of us that is not visible to the outside that believes and thinks. The biblical meaning of the word “heart” is made clear when Deuteronomy 9:4 says that the heart thinks, “Do not think in your heart, after the LORD your God has cast them out before you, saying, ‘Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land’; but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out from before you.” And again in Matthew 9:4 Jesus tells us that the heart thinks, “But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts?”. There are many more examples throughout the scriptures of the heart thinking. While the scriptures use the heart and mind synonymously, Joyner tries to drive a wedge between mind and heart in order to emphasis religious experience over truth.
Joyner encourages others to seek God through their heart. In contrast, the Bible tells us “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” (Jeremiah 17:9) Instead of listening to our heart we should distrust it and learn to listen to the objective Word of God.
Joyner ventures into the irrational when he describes the following mind freeing experience.
As I looked at someone in the room I began to understand what he was thinking just as he had been able to understand me. When I looked at the Lord I began to understand Him in the same way. We continued to use words, but the meaning of each one had a depth that no dictionary could have ever captured. My mind had been freed so that its capacity was multiplied many times over. It was exhilarating beyond any previous experience… Jesus is the Communication of God to His creation. His words are spirit and life, and their meaning and power far exceeds our present human definitions. Human words are a very superficial form of the communication of the spirit. He made us able to communicate on a level that far transcends human words…We cannot be who we were created to be until we regain this, and we can only attain it when we are freed in His presence.
By saying that God’s words exceed human definitions, Joyner implies that God’s truth is not propositional. If God’s words exceed human words then how would Joyner know what they mean? By definition, a proposition must have a subject and a predicate. Only a proposition can be said to be true or false. It would be incorrect to say that the phrase “My car” is true or false because it is not a complete proposition. It is only a subject. However, the proposition “My car has been stolen” can be true or false because it now has a predicate, namely “has been stolen”. Therefore, if Joyner was receiving communication from God that was not propositional it must not have been true or false. It must have been something other than the truth of God. Though he claims that these super human words had meaning, in actuality they were meaningless, nonsensical babble.
Joyner also seems to preach a false gospel of works in a few places.
“Yes, it takes more faith to walk in the higher realms of the Spirit,” the eagle added. “The Lord gave us the map to His kingdom when He said, ‘If you seek to save your life you will lose it, but if you will lose your life for My sake you will find it.’ Those words alone can keep you on the path to the top of the mountain, and will lead you to victory in the great battle ahead. They will also help you to stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ.”
Losing your life for the sake of Christ will not help you stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Only a righteousness that is outside of us, namely Christ’s righteousness, will cause us to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. God expects us to be absolutely perfect (Matthew 5:48). Sincerity or sacrifice will not save us before a Holy God who is perfectly just. Since we cannot make up for past sins we must rest fully on the righteousness that God provides for us in Christ. Romans 10:3 says, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.”
“Here you have tasted both My (God’s) kindness and My severity. You must remember both if you are to stay on the path of life. The true love of God includes the judgment of God. You must know both my kindness and severity or you will fall to deception. This is the grace that you have been given here, to know both.”
“When I judge I am not seeking to condemn, or to justify, but to bring forth righteousness…I never come to take sides.”
“Even His judgments come because of love. When you send them forth, it must be because of love. Even His final judgment of the earth will be His final mercy.”
Apparently the phrase “both My kindness and My severity” is a reference to Romans 11:22, “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God”. If Joyner really did know God’s severity, he would be in hell suffering eternal torment forever and ever. Joyner makes it clear that even God’s “final judgment” will come because of God’s love. There is no kindness in the judgment of God. He actively participates in the destruction of those condemned to hell. 2nd Thessalonians 1:8-9 says, “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power”. Those who experience God’s severity will be tormented in hell because they are in His presence continually. He will pour out His wrath upon them, not His grace. To assert otherwise is to attack the gospel by removing the need for Christ. The Bible is perfectly clear God’s judgment will bring about condemnation upon those who have transgressed His law.
I get the impression that Joyner is trying to soften God’s harsher attributes. After all, isn’t God a loving God? Then why would he want to torment people in hell for ever? Why not turn God’s wrath into His mercy to make the gospel sound more acceptable in our modern culture? The answer is simple but profound. If people do not understand the bad news in Romans 1:18-3:20, which talks about God’s wrath and judgment upon sin, then they will never truly understand the good news (or “gospel”) in Romans 3:21-11 of salvation by grace through faith on account of Christ. To water down God’s wrath, people’s guilt under the law, etc. is to water down the need for Christ. If we take away the bad news then the good news does not make any sense. We are not saved primarily from sin itself. We are saved from the wrath of God being poured out on us because of our sin. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrightesouness,” (Romans 1:18). But today, people do not know what it even means to be saved.
The following quote is a denial of justification by faith alone.
Be quick to hear and obey what He says. Faith and obedience are the same. You do not have true faith if you do not obey, and if you have true faith you will always obey.
Here Joyner seems to confuse faith and obedience. It is correct to say that the same Spirit that produces faith in us also produces good works (James 2:14-17). But Joyner goes further to claim that faith and obedience are the same. Here is where he makes a fatal mistake and places works (our obedience) squarely in the center of the gospel. Romans 3:20 is clear, “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” The MorningStar Fellowship Church gets it right in their statement of faith when they say, “Those who trust in Jesus Christ have access to the Throne of Grace by His sacrifice and by His sacrifice alone.” But what good is a statement of faith when Joyner contradicts it in his writings.
Later Rain / Manifest Sons of God:
Many of Joyner’s statements in his books come across as supremely arrogant. Everyone in heaven seems to be looking forward to seeing Rick when he enters heaven. Even the apostle Paul gets excited at the privilege to speak to Mr. Joyner. Understanding the “Latter Rain” and “Manifest Sons of God” movements will help provide the context for further understanding Joyner’s apparent self glorification. The “Latter Rain” movement has the following characteristics. These teachings can be traced back to William M. Branham (1909-1965). Rick Joyner picked it up from Paul Cain (1929-present) and the Kansas City Prophets.
- The latter rain – This teaching allegorizes Joel 2:23. The former rain represents the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the latter rain represents the outpouring of the Spirit during the end times, in order to usher in the Kingdom of Christ.
- The fivefold ministry – Teaches that there are five primary roles or gifts within the church, which are apostleship, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. God is just now restoring the roles of apostle and prophet to the church.
- Christian ecumenism – Teaches that the church in the last days will no longer be divided along denominational lines. Eventually, true Christian denominations will dissolve and will form geographically around latter day prophets.
The “Manifest Sons of God” movement also adds the following characteristics.
- Based on Romans 8:19, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” According to this teaching, a new bread of Christians will arise in the last days. They will receive spiritual bodies and gain immortality here on Earth. They will also be able to perform great wonders and miracles. The appearance of these latter day believers will usher in the millennial reign of Jesus Christ.
- Dominion Theology – Teaches that the spiritual elite will lead an army in the final battle to subdue the enemies of God.
The following quotes are a few examples of Manifest Sons of God teachings found in Joyner’s two books, The Final Quest and The Call.
“Thank you,” he (the apostle Paul) said graciously, “But you do not understand just how much we have looked forward to meeting you. You are a soldier in the last battle; you are the ones whom everyone here is waiting to meet. We only saw these days dimly through our limited prophetic vision, but you have been chosen to live in them. You are a soldier preparing for the last battle. You are the ones for whom we are all waiting.”
Your goal must not be to be like me (the apostle Paul), but to be like the Lord. You can be like Him, and you can do everything that He did, and even more, because He saved His best wine for last.”
However, I will make more of My (God) grace, and more of My power available to the last day church, because she must accomplish more than the church in any age has yet accomplished. The last day believers will walk in all the power that I demonstrated, and more, because they will be the final representatives of all who have gone before them. The last day church will demonstrate My nature and My ways as they have never been demonstrated before by men.
He will now reveal Himself through His chosen ones to show them who they were created to be.
I am about to release My last-day apostles. I will have many like Paul, John, Peter and the others. To prepare them, I am sending many like John the Baptist who will teach them devotion to Me and lay the foundation of repentance in their lives. These apostles will also be like John the Baptist… I am about to release My last-day prophets. They will love Me and walk with Me, even as Enoch did. They will demonstrate My power and prove to the world that I am the One true God. Each will be a pure well from which only living waters flow.
“I am also sending you back to walk with the prophets I am sending forth as Samuels to pour oil upon My true shepherds. Many of these are now considered the least of their brethren, but you will find them serving as faithful shepherds of their little flocks, faithful laborers in whatever I have given them to do. These are My faithful ones who are called to be kings. These I will trust with My authority. They will prepare My people for the great battle at the end.”
The “latter rain” / “manifest sons of God” doctrine invents a new class of spiritual elite. It promotes the following after new apostles and prophets who hand out spiritual anointings. Joyner describes these new prophets and apostles as “kings”. This is exactly what Paul teaches against in 1st Corinthians 2:21-23
Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are your’s; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your’s; And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.
We are not to follow after some “super apostle” to gain some special oil of anointing from them. On the contrary, Paul tells us not to “glory in men” because “all things are your’s”. We have everything we need in Christ and in His Word. The whole scheme of spiritual elitism smells of cultic practices, where people submit to a charismatic leader because of his assumed anointing of Power.
Joyner’s prophecies, concerning a coming civil war, act as a safeguard against criticism. Those who dare to question his divine mandate only serve to validate his prophecy. I am sure that I will be labeled as a prisoner in the long train of Satan’s army, choking down vulture vomit because I “thought that the vomit of Condemnation was truth from God.” Not only that, but I probably have demons riding on my back “urinating and defecating upon” me making me subject to pride and selfish ambition. But I care not what Joyner thinks. I cannot remain silent in the face of falsehood and see the people I love become ensnared.
Some may say that I am being hyper critical and judgmental. Why don’t we spare ourselves the personal conflict and wait until we get to heaven to figure it all out. How many “conservative evangelicals” would say the same thing about the issue of abortion? Would they say, let’s wait and figure it out later? These are serious issues that deserve our full attention. The gospel of Jesus Christ and the sufficiency of His Word are under attack. People’s spiritual lives are being harmed as they seek after false prophets. Are these issues not important enough to risk personal conflict and strife? Did not Jesus, Paul, John, and Peter “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 1:3) by viscously attacking false teachers who had proclaimed their teachings in the public arena? Should we stand by and allow savage wolves to speak “perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:30). I hope that this paper has shown that Rick Joyner is one such savage wolf. In 2nd Timothy 3:13 Paul urges Timothy to continue in the Word of God.
But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,Footnotes:
1 These two books were chosen as the main reference for this paper because the first, The Final Quest, claims to be a “National Best Seller” and the second, The Call, is its sequel. Therefore, I reasoned that it would be a fair approximation of the teachings of Rick Joyner and MorningStar Ministries.
2 “Medium (spirituality)” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 24 September 2005 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medium_%28spirituality%29>.
3 Rick Joyner, The Final Quest (Charlotte, NC : Morning Star Publications, 1996), p. 107.
4 Rick Joyner, The Call (Charlotte, NC : Morning Star Publications, 1999), p. 20.
5 Ibid. p. 40.
6 Ibid. p. 59.
7 Rick Joyner, The Final Quest (Charlotte, NC : Morning Star Publications, 1996), p. 10.
8 Ibid. p. 12-13.
9 Ibid. p. 14.
10 Rick Joyner, The Call (Charlotte, NC : Morning Star Publications, 1999), p. 22.
11 Ibid. p. 23.
12 Ibid. p. 23.
13 Ibid. p. 83.
14 Rick Joyner, The Final Quest (Charlotte, NC : Morning Star Publications, 1996), p. 26.
15 Ibid. p. 35.
16 Ibid. p. 42.
17 Ibid. p. 65.
18 Ibid. p. 44.
19 Ibid. p. 10.
20 Ibid. p. 10.
21 Ibid. p. 10.
22 Ibid. p. 11.
23 Ibid. p. 46.
24 Ibid. p. 140.
25 Ibid. p. 148.
26 Rick Joyner, The Call (Charlotte, NC : Morning Star Publications, 1999), p. 40-41.
27 Rick Joyner, The Final Quest (Charlotte, NC : Morning Star Publications, 1996), p. 125.
28 Ibid. p. 83.
29 Ibid. p. 121.
30 Rick Joyner, The Call (Charlotte, NC : Morning Star Publications, 1999), p. 79.
31 Ibid. p. 117.
32 “Statement of Faith” MorningStar Fellowship Church. 5 October 2005 <http://www.morningstarministries.org/info/faith_statement.htm>.
33 Rick Joyner, The Final Quest (Charlotte, NC : Morning Star Publications, 1996), p. 131.
34 Ibid. p. 134.
35 Ibid. p. 137.
36 Rick Joyner, The Call (Charlotte, NC : Morning Star Publications, 1999), p. 79.
37 Ibid. p. 85.
38 Ibid. p. 146.
39 Rick Joyner, The Final Quest (Charlotte, NC : Morning Star Publications, 1996), p. 20.
40 Ibid. p. 21.